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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 9, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta 4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Monday. April 9, 1973 r Necessary to spread the icing around By Peter Desharpts, Toronto Star commentator Pension rip-off? The chorus of approval over the raising of old age pensions was such that it may come as a surprise to read Peter'Desbarats' column today and discover that there were some misgivings. His use of the expression "rip-off" will certainly occasion sur- prise. Undoubtedly some older people need the raise in pension; they prob- ably need more than what they will be getting. At the same time, how- ever, there are a lot of people get- t-ng the federal pension who have no need of it whatever. Good numbers of people arrive at retirement with more-than-adequate incomes derived from investments, savings and pension plans. With their mortgages paid off, their fam- ilv responsib I'tfes reduced or dis- charged, and their needs on the wane they are the envy of those in the earlier stages of the struggle to m-'ke a living. The old age pension in some in- stances, then, is gravy. No wonder there are 30 many senior citizens on the road in camper trucks or in cars with trailers behind. Not sur- prisingly, they are also to be found in airplanes winging their way to all sorts of exotic places. The con- trast between that land of travel and the hitch-hiking of the young people is striking. Mr. Desbarats may be more hon- est and more courageous than most in speaking of this in terms of a rip-off. At least it is fair to suggest that criticism of programs for youth should be muted when their cost is a mere drop in the bucket compared to what goes out of the federal treasury for old age pensions. The thought of having to return to something in the nature of a means test for qualifying for the pension is no doubt repugnant to most people. But clearly need, which is felt by other groups besides senior citizens, has to be met in some better way. It is a major area for consideration on the part of the federal minister of health and his provincial counter- parts- The public isn't that stupid A long aited report was released in New York the other day. It is from a special study group at Col- umbia University, and is concerned with the widely publicized efforts of the U.S. government to encourage development of a safer automobile. The conclusions reached by the study group are truly astonishing. Summarized, they are that building a safer car may lead to more acci- dents, more injuries and more fatali- ties on the roads and highways. In support of this remarkable "dis- the report predicts that dri- vers of safer cars, aware of their own improved chances of surviving an accident, will be less concerned with safe operation of their cars, and in fact will become "more aggressive and accident prone-" It also points out that a car built sufficiently strong to afford real safety to passengers within, will be capable of inflicting great damage on a conventional vehicle in a colli- sion, so constitutes a real threat to the millions of ordinary cars that now exist, and that cannot possibly be replaced for many years. A further objection to the develop- ment of safer cars is offered on eco- logical grounds. Contending that add- ed safety features are bound to in- crease vehicle weight, the report maintains that safer cars will re- quire even larger and more power- ful engines, which will consume more fuel and create more air pollution. (This aspect of the study must have been completed before the recent energy crisis, as it was called, be- cause nothing is said about these larger engines helping to deplete fuel supplies.) In view of these hazards, and evi- dently despairing of heading off the government's determination that there shall be safer cars, the study group proposes that if such cars must be built and marketed, the pub- lic be protected by laws requiring that "safe" cars be limited as to size and power and fitted with speed- governing devices, to make them "less lethal." (Not, of course, to af- fect their competitive position vis-a- vis the cars being manufactured now.) A few months ago a senior editor of Fortune Magazine wrote a thought- ful article expressing the view that the greatest concern of today's busi- ness leaders is or should be the public's skepticism about the mo- tives of modern business and indus- try. During the past year a score or more prominent educators, includ- ing several university presidents, have wondered at and deplored the diminishing respect the public seems to have for its institutions of higher learning. Well, the public may not be very sophisticated when it comes to busi- ness matters. It may not be espec- ially well educated. But it knows who finances "studies" like this. It knows because it reads the papers and listens to news broadcasts that the automobile industry has con- sistently opposed attempts to develop vehicles different from those it finds most profitable. And unsophisticated or ill-educat- ed though the public may be, it can still add two and two. ART BUCHWALD Lefs treat them all alike WASHINGTON It was the fifth day of our meat boycott and the family was sitting around the dining-room table wiping up the gravy from the cheese-and-turnip casserole that my wife had prepared for us. You could see the pride in the chil- dren's faces. They had survived almost a week without meat and they knew they had struck a great blow for lower food prices. "I dont' even miss my daugh- ter Jennifer said. "I don't even miss my daugh- ter Connie agreed. My son Joel said, "The voice of the con- sumer has been heard in the land." "Then you all I said, "that boy- cotts are the best way of showing our dis- content over high prices.1' Everyone agreed. reason I raise the 1 said, "is that the telephone company is thinking of doubling the price of a call from 10 cents to 20 cents. This would be an increase of 109 per cent and I think if they do it we should boycott the telephone I The family looked at me as if I had gone mad. "Boycott the telephone Jen- nifer said. "But how could I talk to my "You could write them I sug- gested. "No one anyone letters any Connie said. Even jf they Joel said, thcj'd never be delivered.' ?.Iy vnfe, vho never knows when Tm kidding, said "Are, you serious about boy- cotting the phone "Dead I said. "We've got to >ring them to their knees. We've got lo bring the cost of a telephone call down, "I won't do Jennifer shouted, wont' give up the telephone." "You gave up I said. "Meat is just she shouted. "The telephone is my life." Connie yelled, "We'd die without the tel- ephone." Joel agreed. "Man has to communicate by phone or his ear will wither away." My wife said. "I'll give up one or the other but I won't give up both meat and the telehcne.'' I said, "if we're going to s'.ick by our principles, we will have to boycott the telephone company, just as we will have to boycott the gasoline stations they raise the price of gas." "Raise the price of Joel said. "What am I going to do with my "Keep it in the garage until the gaso- line companies see the error of their ways." "How do I get to Connie said. "Take the bus." "What's a Connie demanded. "Don't be I said. "If we're go- ing to give up meat because they raised the prices on us, we're going to give up the telephone and gasoline and, if they raise electricny, -we'll give up air condi- tioning." "But we have to have air Jennifer saci "Look, prices arc going up on every- thing. Why should we just sock it to the fanner? If -we really war.t our voices heard, vc've got to sock the phone com- pany, the gasoline companies, the power companies and anyoTje else who thinks they can horse around with our household budget. I say we're either in the boycott business for real or we get out of it al- together No-v what do you My wife sighed. '-I'D order a pork roast from the butcher tomorrow morning This month the old folks of Canada will begin to receive the highest pension cheques in the world. No one has referred to this yet as a senior citizens' rip-off, but it comes very close to that. The inequities of our entire social assistance system are glaring enough to raise serious questions about the pens on in- crease approved by Parliament recently. Regrettably, few of these questions were raised as the politicians fell over one an- other in a mad scramble to pur- chase the votes of this clearly dei'ir.ed bloc of citizens who are over 64 years of age. The fact that they were ag- gravating the injustices of the present system, and perhaps making it more difficult to cor- rect, seemed to occur to few of the politicians. The smaller the party, the more extreme were its demands for universal old ege pensions of and even a month. Almost no thought was de- voted to the moral issues in- volved in giving even more money to senior citizens while large groups of handicapped and helpless people continue to exist in extreme poverty. Pen- sioners' organizations continued to reinforce the erroneous no- tion that society is treating them shabbily whila lavishing millions of dollars on the idle poor and the shiftless young. This led to such absurdities in the pension debate last week as the suggestion by Roch Lasalle, the independent MP for Joliette, that the pension should be paid at 60 years of age to create "thousands of job opportunities for the young unemployed whom we are spoiling rotten by way of an ever-increasing num- ber of social measures." "How ore you making out on the new 'easier-than-it-Iooks' tax form, Call of the land may aid Vietcong By Mark Frankland, London Observer commentator If the V :n ceasefire were to become even half-way per- fect the Saigon government could find many of the country people now under its control slipping away into VieUmg areas. Some movement has already started, but it seems to be held back to a trickle by the contin- uing danger of life gov- ernment-controlled villages. The reason is simple enough. Over the years of war many Viet- namese farmers have been Letters to the editor Survival comes first May I direct my opinion to the person who signed his name A Scout Leader. He states the Lethbridge Girl Guides are being trained to "rush out and chop down a few trees, when they go on their next campout. Oh, what a ter- rible calamity. I think that Scout Leader himself deserves the sharpest axe, not the sur- vival education given Girl Guides. Do you know Scout Leader, our provincial govern- ment is sending men out every summer to cut down millions of trees. Pine trees which just lay and rot, You mentioned, Scout Leader that Lord Robert Baden-Powell talked of proper care of our en- vironment before pop cans were invented. Rather a stupid statement; do you expect the Guides or Scouts to survive un- der a tin can? You should try to advise Mr. Byron RuU or any other Girl Guide leader lo read their manuals I sincerely doubt jour ability lo survhe long jf >oa had six weeks in the bush, tem- peratures between _'0 ?nd degrees be'cw zero, zs 1 done v.ilh ju-t an ard to provide shower for survival. The stores have been all decked out in Easter trim. Card shops and candy coun- ters have placed their empha- sis on Easier loo. Easier bun- nies, ]iU3e chicks and ducklings are on sate in different colors. And suddenly I am confused. What has all this to do with the resurrcctjon of our Lord? ril admit I've been confused about tJhis for a long lime now- just have never put it into before. The only poro- blc connection I can sec is that when Christ from the dead, He bronchi inllnn the resf'h of us all life, eternal W" Actually the word "Easier" is from Eastre, the Antfo-Smon name for the gofttess of spring dunnp month (April; the old Teutonic spring festival was obMTved. In anncrrt Rome 1be heathen held special celebra- tions of the Vernal Equinox at about this time The existence of Easter in the church loday no doubt represents a bit of a Having been a Scout Master and knowing the Scout xo of being prepared is good are sons of peasants) rhrug and move